Volunteering at General Assembly

People often remark, “I would really like to attend GA, but it is soo expensive!”  My answer is usually; “Yes it is expensive, (most of the cost is in the hotels) but the experience of being with 4-5000 other UUs for 5 days to a week, is more than worth it!”  However, there are a couple of ways to reduce the overall cost of attending a General Assembly.

The first is to make your decision early.  General Registration and the Hotel Reservation Service will both open at 8:00 am (MST), Tuesday March 1st.  The lower cost hotel rooms, and alternate housing opportunities always are the first to post a “No Vacancy”.  All the information for GA – 2017 (NOLA), is already posted on uua.org/ga,  Reservations will not be confirmed until after March 1st.

Using the UUA system generally gives you the better rates, and allows us to meet our commitments to the host city.  (I have worked at other meetings in New Orleans, and must admit I am impressed with the hotel rates the Planning Committee was able to negotiate…………FMC)

The other way is to become a GA Volunteer.  Each year, 200+ individuals, who agree to donate 18 hours of their time to the General Assembly, are reimbursed for their Registration fees.  This year that is a $360 value!  A complete listing of the Volunteer opportunities for this year’s meeting is available at uua.org/ga/volunteer.  The NOLA Organizing Committee will begin accepting applications on March 1st.  You have until April 1st to submit an application — but the earlier it is received, the more likely it will be considered, for assignment.  If your application is not accepted, you still have until May 1st to submit a regular Registration form — before the “prices go up” (to $415)!

Some tips about volunteering:

Ushers and Tellers, are almost always guaranteed a good seat at the major events, and the business meetings.  This means that you have full access to all of the Workshop offerings; however it also means you cannot be a Delegate from UUCB.

Ambiance, is staffed from local volunteers and the bulk of their work happens before GA opens.

Tech Deck, is highly specialized (with only a few positions) but affords an unusually close look into the “backstage” workings of a GA.

All the other opportunities, there is always flexibility in scheduling, which will let you satisfy your individual needs/desires/interests.  Your NOLA supervisor will provide a projected schedule, in June, prior to GA.

Two general comments: I will usually discourage being a Volunteer for your “1st GA” — so that you can fully enjoy the richness of the entire experience.  If you are also interested in participating in the GA Choir, you may encounter scheduling issues.

Please direct any questions to Barb Richards, or myself (we have been doing this for 16 years, now).

Also please let me know if you are planning to go to New Orleans.  UUCB will develop our Delegate assignments (Volunteers can be Delegates) beginning in mid-May.

Fred M. Cole — UUCB Denominational Affairs Representative